So I found myself articulating something to an old student of mine about the feeling of entering the job of an educator, which I’ve never tried to describe before. But as I wrote it, I thought, “Geez, we should warn our students about this more often.” I’ve taught a lot of people who went into K-12 as well as postsecondary education, and I never told them about the affective experience of knowing that you have students, that they’ll be there waiting for you to show up and be good. I’m sure the experience admits of tons of variety, but here is mine, and to make up for all the times I failed to mention this, I’m just going to re-post it here for future caring types:
So I’ve only taught adults, but I find it quintilli-cated my sense of massive responsibilities to other people. No one warns you about this aspect of education: You are aware that you have the well-being of others in your hands every day and you can fail in any number of ways, every day. You met me in just my second year, when I felt this very, well, very much. It’s like a net on your heart. It’s not bad, not always anyway, but there it is. It’s webby.
The thing is, you get accustommed to it. After a while, you even kind of see it as a part of you. You miss it when it goes slack. But there it is, there’s a net on your heart.
Sorry I didn’t tell you sooner, my students.